Preface: I was diagnosed by a single psychologist 5 years ago at the ripe age of mid-30’s. This letter was sent to this therapist following hundreds of hours of mental health services, dozens of “professional” opinions, and years of diagnosis-related problems I now regret:

To be very clear and to avoid losing manic intent, the point of this letter is to question the current landscape and approach for diagnosing patients, specifically one’s with high functioning illness. Looking back, I can’t justify our diagnosis. Furthermore, the exact same solutions could have been applied by simply focusing on and testing the symptoms and symptoms alone, without the risk of bias-inducing titles.

Naming high functioning madness is irrelevant.

It has only served in my (continued) dismissal, including my own. Yet I was never asked if a diagnosis was something I wanted or needed, and this diagnosis has offered me nothing in return; nothing I couldn’t already obtain pre-diagnosis. Except now, my ignorant MD father requires me to be “on medication and in therapy” to be inside his home, and a “note from my doctor” to own a weapon. I can’t be a police officer or buy a gun. And my drunk denial mother now introduces me to everyone as her “bipolar son”; sidestepping her own neglected madness expertly. Friends & family have told at least a dozen people my illness without my single choice. I have been living in the aftermath of this nuclear fallout ever since; trying to rebuild a self respect long ago trampled on entirely. I am broken.

The risks of diagnosis were never discussed.

Secondly, the fact that I spent 2+ years working under your professional wings (quite intensively) only to leave without even one person asking for feedback or offering an appropriate outlet for this feedback is a problem in itself. And this red-flag fact is universally present in all treatment everywhere nationwide, where med providers and therapists hover in a do-no-harm bubble completely padded from checks and balances. “Hip shot” therapy is everywhere, where over confident therapists fraught with subjectivity make life-altering advice almost in passing, without aim or regard for the ripple effect it promotes.

I would even admit, as constructive as this email feedback has the potential to be, it is still inappropriate for me to be reaching out at all. To which I would argue, inappropriately reaching out far outweighs the alternative of being completely silent and without voice entirely. And this is the dilemma you find in all post diagnosis treatment: the patient has the last voice. Or no voice at all. And mentioning how broken it all is only ends in frustration, where the patient gets deemed difficult or uncooperative. Really make a point, and the patient gets blamed for deciding not to be happy. Or having a negative attitude. Or conveniently dismissed as manic, problematic, or even drug seeking.

I’ve been fending off ignorance ever since.

Including a landlord refusing to allow me to reside in a property one extra month after learning I was bipolar. His response? “I’d rather he not sleep here. I’d be afraid he will break something.” He illegally evicted me (thanks Jefferey). My attempts to hire a lawyer were perpetually dismissed manic. Simply because even sharing this ignorant story alone causes me significant physiological response (trauma). Lawyers avoid mental illness like the plague. When asked to help me hold face, my family dismissed me as just another manic state.

People have strong opinions about bipolar. Of which I am now powerless to. And 95% of everyone who knows I am bipolar, were not told this by myself alone. Indeed, other people told them for me. To zero benefit or purpose to me.

This is not an attack on your professionalism. Quite the opposite: you were hands down the best therapist I’ve ever had. For many different great reasons. So it’s not you: this issue is systemic to a much larger problem. Which all makes sense when you realize psychiatric medicine is really spearheaded by a greedy pharmaceutical industry of struggling integrity. Therapists just get caught in the middle.

The more therapy you get, the harder finding good therapy becomes.

One other problematic irony is the more therapy training a patient gets, the worse the therapy becomes in return. Meaning, I often have exponentially more hours under my belt (for bipolar) than any therapist I meet. And so, being so highly trained actually makes spotting awful therapy super easy. And it’s everywhere. And it’s dangerous. And it’s a problem.

You might say: take this matter up with your therapist and new psych provider. Except I tried. The response? I was put on a mandatory (and arbitrary) 3-month wait list “required for all new psych patients”. How offensive is this ignorant wait? What’s worse: post 3-month wait you are still facing inadequate solutions at best. It’s completely broken. As is the misleading narrative prevalent society-wide: medication and therapy always helps everyone, and to be off meds and therapy… is to be irresponsible.

I would again argue we could have accomplished everything just as well, without tagging me with a detrimental diagnosis that now haunts me. I can’t escape it. Yet my illness has never been under more control, I have never been more dismissed.

The past cannot be changed.

But the future can. I will be outlining solutions in my website, after articulating the many problems. Not operating inside a vacuum is always a great start, and a solid rule-of-thumb for any life endeavor. Thanks in great part to this “mental health” diagnosis, my life has never been more difficult or in disarray, despite not having a drug addiction or drinking problem. I have clear cut before and after experience to base comparisons on: nullifying the point of a diagnosis entirely. All while the diagnosis itself offered me nothing good in return. I don’t even get disability or entry into some special club. Indeed, a useless diagnosis causing only harm and interference. But unfortunately, it’s too late; an innocence has been forever taken.

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